Profiles of freshman physics students' views on the nature of science



The views on various aspects of the nature of science (NOS) of 179 novice undergraduate physics students were investigated using six open-ended, written probes. These views were consolidated within compact NOS “profiles,” which were designed based on the students' responses to the probes. These profiles may be understood as sets of key descriptors, which represented the variation in the views of individual students in a succinct way. The views of 86% of the sample were found to be represented by four profiles, each containing five descriptors. The consequences for the teaching and learning of tertiary science, and advantages for linking NOS views to other research observables were explored. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 248–264, 2009